‘I bleed with my athletes’: Australian coach comments on bizarre dance after swimmer’s gold medal win

Ariarne Titmus won gold for women’s 400m freestyle

Danielle Zoellner
New York
Tuesday 27 July 2021 21:13

Australian swim coach goes viral for celebratory dance

Australian swimmer Ariarne Titmus swam the Olympic race of her life when she beat United States swimmer Katie Ledecky in the women’s 400m freestyle, but all people have talked about was her coach’s celebration following the win.

Coach Dean Boxall, who is known for his intense coaching style, was filmed in the stands following the race with an overwhelming victory dance.

This dance included Mr Boxall tearing his mask off, screaming up towards the sky, and grabbing the handrails of where he stood while thrusting his hips multiple times.

One Japanese volunteer for the Tokyo Olympics was next to Mr Boxall attempting to keep him in his assigned area, but all the coach could focus on was Ms Titmus’s stunning victory over the American swimmer.

Addressing the viral dance, Mr Boxall told Australia’s Channel 7 that his moves were inspired by the wrestler the Ultimate Warrior.

Although he didn’t apologise for the exuberant, and sometimes crude, moves, the coach did apologise to the public for pulling his mask off amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“I just lost it in the moment,” he said.

Mr Boxall credited his passion for the sport and his athletes as the reason behind his reactions, whether the swimmers win or lose.

“I can’t help it,” Mr Boxall told The Guardian. “I bleed with my athletes. When they leave the pool deck with me – whether I’m having a chat with them for an hour if it has to be – but when they leave, they have to start the recovery process and go home. They switch off; I don’t. I go home and dream for them. I go home and try and find a way for them to get better.”

“I just don’t turn off,” he added. “That’s probably why I let it out, why I got emotional. It’s not just a 9-5 job; it’s 24/7. I wake up at night and I’m thinking of how can Arnie get better, how can Mitch get better, how can Elijah get better.”

Ms Titmus addressed the celebratory dance at a press conference following her Olympic gold medal win, calling it a “classic Dean” move.

“That’s just the way Dean is,” she said. “He’s very passionate about what he does – he really becomes quite animated.”

“This is just as much for him as it is for me,” she added. “He has sacrificed a lot in his family life, his kids and his wife, for his job. He puts 100 per cent into being a swimming coach. I would not be here without him.”

The Australian swimmer has worked with Mr Boxall for the last five years as they prepared for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Summer Games, which was postponed one year due to the pandemic.

Mr Boxall has been a swimming coach for more than two decades, and he currently runs Brisbane-based swim club St Peters Western – a club known for producing all-star swimmers.

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